Helen Cowie

Professor Helen Cowie Fellow of the British Psychological Society

Emeritus Professor
MA; MSc; PhD; FBPS; PGCE; Dip in Psychotherapy

Academic and research departments

Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences.


Research Interests

  • Peer support against bullying
  • School bullying
  • Bullying in the workplace
  • Bullying among university students
  • Emotional health and well-being in children and young people
  • Teaching: Supervision of PhD students

Social media links



My latest book is Cowie, H & Myers, C-A, (Ed’s.).(2023). Cyber bullying and Online Harms: From Community to Campus. London: Routledge. 

Selected Books

From Birth to Sixteen, Helen Cowie (2012) London: Routledge.
This book charts children’s development from infancy through to adolescence. The text is designed for those studying and practising child development in the context of nursing, play work, youth work, play therapy, early years education, teaching, social work and occupational therapy. The book integrates theoretical and real world perspectives. For further information and access to the companion website, see http://www.routledge.com/cw/cowie/

New Perspectives on Bullying, Cowie, H. & Jennifer, D. (2008) Maidenhead: Open University Press
This book provides a valuable resource for anyone responsible for the emotional health and well-being of children and young people by providing a wealth of ideas for promoting positive relationships in the whole-school community. The authors integrate key research findings and good practice, illustrated with case study material to bring the ideas to life. The material in this book is linked directly to the new agenda for change in meeting the needs of the child, empowering children to be consulted and to take responsibility for the issues that affect them. Interventions explored in depth include restorative approaches, peer mediation, narrative methods and cyber support.

Managing Violence in Schools, Cowie, H. & Jennifer, D. (2007) London: Sage Publications
This book proposes a whole-school community approach to create a climate in which teachers and pupils can work together in greater harmony. At the heart of this approach is the view that, in order to solve the issue of school violence, the entire school community must work collaboratively to foster cooperative values, a sense of positive identity, a willingness to embrace restorative, inclusive methods and a shared understanding of core moral values. The essence of this approach lies in the dynamic quality of the relationships amongst teachers and pupils. The authors provide real-life examples of good practice, such as peer support, mediation, emotional literacy and restorative practice. There is also guidance on how to conduct a needs analysis unique to each school.

Understanding Children’s Development, Smith, P.K., Cowie, H. & Blades, M. (Fifth Edition) (2010, in press). Oxford: Blackwell.
This textbook adopts an accessible style to introduce students to the fundamental principles of child development from birth to adolescence. It has received international acclaim and has been translated into a number of languages, including Italian and Estonian. Each chapter introduces the theme, discusses controversial issues, provides boxes and case studies for further discussion and review of key research findings and their implications for a full understanding of the child’s world.

Emotional Health and Well-Being, Cowie, H., Boardman, C., Dawkins, J. & Jennifer, D. (2004) London: Sage Publications This successful book is designed for educational psychologists, teachers, school nurses, counsellors and all those with pastoral responsibilities for young people. The authors describe the risk factors and the protective factors that affect the emotional health and well-being of children and young people. They also present a range of strategies that have been shown to be effective in creating a supportive environment at school in order to prevent distress where possible and to facilitate resilience.

Peer Support in Action, Cowie, H. & Wallace, P. (2000) London: Sage Publications
This training manual addresses the role that peer supporters can play in alleviating the distress of fellow-students in school settings and describes in detail how schools can develop a peer support service. The training activities represent the authors’ long-standing experience as facilitators, with case study material and role play scenarios to illustrate the approach. The book has been influential in the UK and overseas in promoting peer support which is now a very widely-used intervention in schools.

Recent book chapters

Cowie, H. (2013) Restorative approaches in schools: a psychological perspective. In E. Sellman, H. Cremin & G. McCluskey (Eds.) Restorative Approaches to Conflict in Schools. London: Routledge, pp. 75-81.

Cowie, H. (2012) The immediate and long-term effects of bullying. I. Rivers & N. Duncan (Eds.) Bullying: Experiences and Discourses of Sexuality and Gender. London: Routledge.

Cowie, H. (2010) Peer support in Japan: a perspective from the outside. In K. Östermann (ed.) Indirect and Direct Aggression. Frankfurt am Main, Peter Lang, pp. 133-142.

Cowie, H. (2010) Core interventions to counteract school bullying.  In T. Aoki (Ed.) Moral Education in Schools. Tokyo: Ya Publications.

Cowie, H. (2010) Cyberbullying: the situation in the UK. In J. A. Mora-Merchán, J.A. & T. Jäger, T. (Eds.) Cyberbullying - A cross-national comparison. Landau: Verlag Empirische Pädagogik.

Cowie, H. & Smith, P. K. (2010) Peer support as a means of improving school safety and reducing bullying and violence.  In B. Doll, J. Charvat, J. Baker & G. Stoner (Eds.) Handbook of Prevention Research. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum

Cowie, H. (2010) Understanding why children and young people engage in bullying at school. In C. Barter & D. Berridge (eds.) Children Behaving Badly? Exploring Peer Violence Between Children and Young People.

Cowie, H. (2010) Peer support in Japan: a perspective from the outside. In K. Östermann (ed.) Indirect and Direct Aggression. Frankfurt am Main, Peter Lang, pp. 133-142.

Cowie, H. (2010) Core interventions to counteract school bullying. In T. Aoki (Ed.) Moral Education in Schools. Tokyo: Ya Publications.

Cowie, H. (2009) Peer support challenges school bullying. In C. Cefai & P. Cooper (eds.) Promoting Emotional Education. London: Jessica Kingsley. (chapter 6)

Jennifer, D. & Cowie, H. (2009) Engaging Children and Young People Actively in Research. In K. Bryan (ed.) Communication in Healthcare . London: Peter Lang European Academic Publishers

Cowie, H. (2007) Programa de actuación para la violencia escolar (VISTA): un marco global para la escuela. In M. de Esteban Villar (ed.) Nuevos Retos para Convivir en las Aulas: Construyendo La Escuela Cīvica. Madrid: Fundación Europea Sociedad y Educación.

Cowie, H. (2006) Young people themselves tackle the problem of school violence. In Österman, K., & Björkqvist, K. (Eds.). Contemporary research on aggression. Volume I: School violence. Proceedings of the XVI World Meeting of the International Society for Research on Aggression, Santorini, Greece, 2004. Åbo, Finland: Åbo Akademi University. Pp 108-114.